For many in the 21st century, losing social media access would be a devastating blow. However, for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, it’s just another day. For the third time in three years, Kadyrov has been banned from Instagram.
According to Instagram’s owners, Facebook, the ban was in relation to US sanctions against the Chechen leader.
Since 2017, Kadyrov has been sanctioned by the United States under the terms of the Magnitsky Act. Signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, and later expanded in 2016, the Magnitsky Act enables the US government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in alleged human rights abuses.
“As an American company, we act within the framework of US sanctions legislation and are constantly taking measures to fulfill our legal obligations,” a Facebook spokesman told news agency RIA.
The same fate also befell the account of Chechen parliament head Magomed Daudov, as well as regional Deputy Prime Minister Abuzayed Vismuradov and State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov.
Kadyrov has been a long-time active user of social media, with his popular Instagram account @kadyrov._95 amassing over 1.4 million subscribers. Before his ban, the Chechen leader would often use the app as a public communications tool.
This isn’t the first time he has had an account deleted.
In December 2017, Kadyrov’s Instagram and Facebook pages were removed, also due to the sanctions imposed against him by the US government.
After 11 months, the account of the head of Chechnya was unblocked. His first post back on Instagram was an ode to his favorite pistol, in which Kadyrov wrote:
“PISTOL. How much I have to tell you, my friend. It’s like it’s just you and me in this silence. How many difficult years have we lived together? How many well-aimed lead ‘words’ have you said to my scoundrel enemies in defense of my chest, dignity and life.”